Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ursula K Le Guin Receives Lifetime Achievement Award at NBA

Neil Gaiman presents lifetime achievement award to Ursula K. Le Guin at 2014 National Book Awards from National Book Foundation on Vimeo.

Ursula K. Le Guin first told her audience that she wanted to share her award with her fellow-fantasy and science fiction writers, who have for so long watched "the beautiful awards" like the one she'd just received, go to the "so-called realists". She then went on to say:

"I think hard times are coming, when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies, to other ways of being. And even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom: poets, visionaries--the realists of a larger reality. Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art...The profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art...We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable; so did the divine right of kings... Power can be resisted and changed by human beings; resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art--the art of words. I've had a long career and a good one, in good company, and here, at the end of it, I really don't want to watch American literature get sold down the river... The name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom."
Nina Munteanu is an ecologist and internationally published author of novels, short stories and essays. She coaches writers and teaches writing at George Brown College and the University of Toronto. For more about Nina’s coaching & workshops visit Visit for more about her writing.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fly Like an Eagle Anthology

I just received my copies of Fly Like an Eagle today. I’m delighted, humbled and so impressed. Delighted that my article on “The First Snow” appears in it; humbled that mine is one of over twenty impressive real life stories of hope and inspiration from all over the world; and impressed with the stunning design, both inside and cover. Bravo, Gary!

The anthology was compiled by Gary Doi with splendid inspirational artwork by celebrated artist Roy Henry Vickers. Design and layout was impeccably attended to, with each piece showcased in a unique way, relevant to its topic.

“An eagle can reach great heights,” Doi shares in the preamble, “by soaring on thermals and then gliding long distances using the smallest amount of energy to rise above circumstances. To soar.”

Fly Like an Eagle is a collection of short stories—real life experiences—that are deeply personal, and spawn moments of reflection. “They probe the eternal question: what gives you hope?” says Doi. Stories express endurance, triumph, accomplishment and purpose. Stories span all walks of life and place. A sixty year old grandmother struggling with weight issues describes her first time competing in a grueling triathlon. A young teacher reflects on how a major surgery changed her perspective on life. A librarian describes how greater access to books is helping vulnerable children in Guatemala.

The inspirational stories offer something very precious in today’s world—a gift of hope.”—Kevin Van Tighem, biologist, author and former superintendent of Banff National Park

Book proceeds benefit SORCO, a rescue and rehab and release facility in the Okanagan for injured raptors such as eagles, hawks and owls. Each year this non-profit organization helps dozens of sick and injured raptors that were hit by vehicles, poisoned, or found starving.

Think: donating to a worthwhile cause. 
Think: sending a Christmas present of Hope and Inspiration. 
Think: purchasing a copy.
You can purchase copies of Fly Like an Eagle for $15.04 on or Fly Like an Eagle for £12.30 on

Nina Munteanu is an ecologist and internationally published author of novels, short stories and essays. She coaches writers and teaches writing at George Brown College and the University of Toronto. For more about Nina’s coaching & workshops visit Visit for more about her writing.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Book Launch of The Literary Connection Volume I in Mississauga

The Literary Connection (Volume 1; IOWI), an Anthology of prose, & poetry, artwork and photography is launching on Sunday, November 23rd at 3-5 pm at the River Grove Community Centre (5800 River Grove Ave., Mississauga, Ontario).

The event is Free and will serve refreshments

Please RSVP with numbers attending to:

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friends of Merril Short Story Contest Now Open

Calling all speculative short fiction writers!

Charlotte Ashley just informed me that The Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest is now open for submissions. Here are the guidelines:

From now until February 15th, 2015 our readers will consider speculative short fiction up to 6000 words for the top prize of $500, with two honourable mentions of $50 available as well. After that, the long-listed stories will be passed to our panel of judges, who choose between them the three winners. We encourage multiple submissions, simultaneous submissions, strange submissions – well, for more information on exactly what we want from these submissions, have a look at our guidelines
All entries must be accompanied by $5 CDN (payable by PayPal). If you would like to enter multiple stories, each entry must be accompanied by its own entry fee. All entry fees will go toward supporting the many activities of the Friends of the Merril Collection at the Toronto Public Library, so don’t be shy! Donations to the Friends can also be made directly here
To enter, send your submission to, then click the button below to pay your fee. Please make sure the name of the story on your payment matches the story you have submitted to us!

Blogging and Social Media Workshop for Writers

My November 9th workshop on Blogging & Social Media for Writers was held at the Mississauga Central Library. It was the second workshop in the “Telling My Story” workshop series conducted by Rise Up! Rise ABOVE! (Ru!RA!), a not for profit organization dedicated to empowerment through creativity.

The workshop navigated writers with differing levels of social media proficiency, exploring anything from the Twitter gospel of using hashtags (#) to why a blogger should also use Facebook. Writers from a wide range of genres were eager to learn and generated exuberant discussion.

When I decided to attend the session on blogging, I was sure in my mind that I will not find the time to do it; but I just wanted to
Nina teaches about blogging
know about it all the same. Nina's enthusiastic and yet demystifying class, converted me. She made the activity of blogging both enjoyable and somehow a necessary aspect of modern life - the new communication to connect with the World, the people, our audience
.”—Prata Reddy, Toronto writer 

The workshop overviewed the history of social media; we reviewed the five most common and useful social media and what their best uses are; and I described the structure of a typical blog. I reviewed: branding, SEO (how to bring and keep traffic coming to your blog), tagging, content, times and schedules, comments and linking to / from other social networks. Through my own example over a dozen blogs (both my own and guest blogging) and as many social media, I explored a system that allowed me to create a strong Internet presence—and still have time to go to the beach!

Nina Munteanu with RuRA's Cheryl Xavier
The Blogging & Social Media Workshop for Writers is ongoing through RuRA! If you’re a Toronto writer and starting a blog or just wondering if you should, this workshop is for you. Contact Ru!RA! for the next Blogging Workshop in the GTA.

For more information on the Telling My Story workshop series and on RuRA! visit my previous post here.


For more information on Ru!RA! and their programs go to their website or contact the director, Cheryl Antao Xavier at

Ru!RA! Website: